What's in The DNA of Successful Apps: Part II

The first installment of our Media and Entertainment Working Group’s series, The DNA of Successful Media & Entertainment Apps, provided developers with an understanding of the variables that contribute to an engaging design. However, the work doesn’t stop once the app is created. Before placing an app in the appropriate marketplaces, developers must keep in mind the focus of our second infographic: legal requirements, including trademarks and privacy policies.


Imitation may be a form of flattery, but it can also put app developers in the middle of unwanted legal issues. Although it’s easy to unknowingly reference an existing product or brand, developers need to be especially careful to avoid similarities.

Conversely, developers also need to protect their own products from being copied. Many developers are unaware that their code is protected by intellectual property laws. Filing for trademarks will help deter others from repurposing a developer’s work, regardless of intentionality. Failing to do so will undoubtedly cause issues.

Privacy Policies

While trademarks are important, merely protecting the product isn’t enough; developers also need to commit to protecting their app users. According to a survey conducted in 2014, “99% of Americans say they care about online privacy, so it’s understandably concerning when you consider the sensitivity around some of their data being shared, from bank records to relationship status."

Unfortunately, many developers forget about protecting their consumers while creating the app. Privacy by design is an important element of this effort, as it is often more difficult to insert proper privacy precautions after an app is completed. However, developers can design with privacy in mind by only collecting and holding information absolutely necessary to fulfill a specific business objective or is required by law.

In addition to privacy by design, developers can prepare a clear and concise privacy policy statement, ensuring app users are aware of these policies. Giving users access to privacy policies at any time also helps build confidence in the security of an app. Developers can also encourage active participation in the privacy policy by having users click through a shorthand, simplified version that is easy to read and understand.

Additional Considerations

When looking into legal requirements for their app, developers need to be aware of additional considerations that are perhaps less obvious. In the spirit of disclosure embodied with the privacy policy, any additional charges or in-app purchases should be clearly indicated. App users should know exactly when they are spending money.

COPPA is another consideration that occasionally puts developers in front of lawyers. The Children’s Online Privacy Act is meant to protect app users under the age of 13, and COPPA compliance should be taken seriously. Much like privacy by design, creating an app that is COPPA compliant is easier than trying to retrofit an app to make it fit the law.

When it comes to legal requirements, preparing earlier is better, and developers should prepare for as many scenarios as possible. Next week, we’ll cover the final link in the The DNA of Successful Media & Entertainment Apps: business strategies. To view the second infographic and receive updates on the rest of the series, visit us here.